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US targets Iranian officials with new wave of sanctions

The sanctions targeting 14 individuals and three entities came as Iranian mourners marked 40 days since Mahsa Amini’s death in custody.
Iran protest

The United States on Wednesday unveiled a new tranche of sanctions targeting Revolutionary Guard commanders, a provincial governor and other Iranian officials involved in the state’s brutal crackdown on protesters

The sanctions come as Iran marks the end of the traditional mourning period for Mahsa Amini, whose death 40 days ago in the custody of Iran’s morality police set off nationwide protests against Iran's clerical regime. In Amini’s hometown of Saqez, security forces reportedly opened fire on mourners who gathered in the thousands on Wednesday to pay their respects at her gravesite.  

“We join her family and the Iranian people for a day of mourning and reflection,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. 

“The United States is committed to supporting the Iranian people and ensuring that those responsible for the brutal crackdown on the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran are held accountable,” Blinken said.

Those sanctioned on Wednesday include six Iranian government officials, some of whom hold leadership positions within Iran’s prison system. Three commanders in Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were also blacklisted “for their brutal responses to protests in Iran.”

The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Hossein Modarres Khiabani, the governor of the Province of Sistan and Baluchistan, the “site of some of the worst violence in the latest round of protests.” At least 80 people, including several children, died when security forces opened fire on protesters and bystanders in the provincial capital, Zahedan, on Sept. 30. 

The administration also designated the Ravin Academy, whose hackers the US accused of disrupting the protesters’ communication, and another company it said worked with the Iranian government to limit Iranians’ access to foreign social media platforms. 

The State Department also placed a visa ban on Iranian commander and chief of police in Isfahan Province, Mohammed Reza Mirheydary, for his alleged role in the suppression of peaceful protests in November 2021. 

Mirheydary, the warden of the Bushehr Prison, and the facility itself were also sanctioned for human rights violations under a separate authority, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. 

The administration previously sanctioned the morality police, as well as Iranian officials linked to the continued suppression of peaceful protests, including Communications Minister Eisa Zarepour and Minister of the Interior Ahmad Vahidi.

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